The biggest challenge with this bracket was the stark youth. The two 13s, in particular, felt like barrel samples, and I was just a fraction disappointed with the results (esp. Sassicaia). They’ll probably get there, but drinking now would be an underwhelming waste. Lock the cellar and forget for a few years. The pair of ’12s, however, were all class, and I’d recommend both in an instant.
For context, all these were wines tasted quickly and in a masterclass-style tasting. I think the preceding Tignanello bracket might have overshadowed this one, with the brashness of youth bumping up harshly against some lovely mature Tignanello. Still, I can only call ’em as I see ’em…
Despite the vanilla oak influence – which is like vanilla paste – this is chunky wine. Still has that ’13 prettiness, but underneath that thick, milky oaked style it seems very new world. Quite unrecognisable as a classic Ornellaia, in fact, and you could be fooled for thinking that it is some super Cab Merlot from just about anywhere. Huon (Hooke) made a comment about this wine calling it the ‘Italian Pavie’, which is apt as it gives an insight about just how flashy it is. How do you score it? For now it’s monstered by the oak and it seems to lack a bit of soul. But judging it now also seems like vinfanticide. Let’s wait and see. 17.8/20, 92/100+
Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia 2013
Cabernet dominant and with 15% Cab Franc. Leaf litter, cedar, the whole lot, it’s Cabernet aplenty. But before dipping into something dark it gets all pretty and juicy. Some 13 Tuscan reds seem to look like this, rather pretty, open and fleshy, but a little less serious. In turn this is not a masculine Sassicaia. It still packs some richness through the middle, but there’s a lean edge here that doesn’t quite feel congruent. Curious. Not released yet, and I’m wondering if this is how it will look in 12 months time. There’s still an unqestioned quality, but this doesn’t turn heads like normal. Or at least my glass didn’t. Would love to have a retaste here. 17.5/20, 91/100+.
Antinori Solaia 2012
Cabernet dominant with a solid 20% Sangiovese, this is the odd one out as it is from Chianti (rather than Bolgheri). Announces its variety too with a tomato leaf flourish. Chocolate meets tomato leaf. A very different wine than the others here, there’s more acidity, more grip, less flashiness. It’s almost more Italianate. A smart release of Solaia, and I’d dive right in. Everything you’d want really. 18.5/20, 94/100.
Guado al Tasso 2012
55% Cabernet, 25% Merlot. 15% Cab Franc. This does a nifty Bordeaux impression from the getgo, with a panoply of mint, leaf litter and meat to go along side the dark berry fruit. Seriously concentrated undereath in a firm, grown up and attractive stye, with a real block of chunky fruit and mouth-coating Italianate tannins. How do they do that? Love that tannin shape. Long, coffeed finish is compelling and this already drinks wonderfully. I really liked this. The length is just exceptional – glorious long finish. 18.7/20, 95/100.
Ca’Marcanda Ca’Marcanda 2011
Soupy nose. Soy sauce and black texta, in a savoury but quite forward style. It’s a very different wine underneath too. Black jube fruit, purple berry. lots pf concentration but quite jubey too. The tannins a different shape too – long elegant tannins. It feels broad and a bit cooked, but the finish is very serious. Unusual, and not quite compelling yet, but I think this moght have some magic in store for the future. There is some x factor qualities and it deserves another look in the future. 17.820. 92/100+